On a trip through Catalonia that is worth its salt, you can’t miss the Costa Brava. And the best would be to see it all, but you would need a lot of time to do so. So the other option is to play it safe, and the safest starts in places like Lloret de Mar.
As we have already told you in several of our audio guides, anyone who lived on the Mediterranean coast about two thousand years ago had to assume that, sooner or later, a Roman galley would appear on the horizon. And the Iberian villages near the beach of Lloret also had to receive the people of Rome, who came to appropriate, as they used to do, all the places they liked.
The area also retains vestiges of the later medieval invasions: more than anything because, without a defensive fortress, there was little future for any coastal town at that time. Lloret built the Castle of San Juan on top of a mountain, as it should be. It seems to date from the eleventh century, although the only thing well preserved is the keep tower, thanks to a facelift made in the nineties.
But that is not the only castle in Lloret; not even the most photographed. In the selfies of the tourists the Castle of d’en Plaja wins by a landslide, it is right beside the sea and never belonged to any feudal lord nor received catapult shots. It turns out that it made its debut in 1940, and it is the whim of an Indiano who became a millionaire selling biscuits in America …
The thing is that the emigrants to America contributed a lot to make Lloret what it is today. At the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries, those who had made a fortune in the New World returned here to build their Neoclassical or Modernist mansions to make their success quite clear, and also to provide funds to improve the services of the village. No wonder they were welcomed with an orchestra when they arrived, to which they corresponded giving Havana cigars to the population.
Some of them are buried today in the cemetery that Lloret owes to the fever of modernism. Fever that, also, would end up giving another face to the Church of San Román, a temple originally built in the sixteenth century.
The place began to receive holidaymakers from the Catalan jet set scarcely a hundred years ago, and it became more and more known. Too well known, because after the Civil War the area became fashionable abroad, and gradually, tourism in its more drastic version destroyed the stately homes, vineyards and forests. And the hotels seized the place without compassion.
But, in fact, the excellence of Lloret’s beaches was already sung long ago. And do not think it’s a way of speaking, no: they were literally sung, specifically in an 1855 opera called Marina. Listen to it, and you will find out!